By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger has to decide how to approach this extremely important game against Spurs on Sunday. The philosophy to be adopted will determine to a great extend the outcome of the game and possibly Arsenal’s participation in next season’s Champions League.
What he should do is not what he chose to do in the game against Bayern.
Instead of acknowledging Bayern’s threats and quality and trying to combat that, he chose to play like he would always play against any average team.
In that game he adopted a very attacking philosophy ignoring the protection that the defence badly needed and choosing players that were too offensively minded.
Arsenal’s formation included only one truly defensive midfielder!!
The three midfielders were Arteta, who played in front of the defence and stack to his defensive duties as he always does.
Ramsey who is definitely not a defensive midfielder and is usually out of his depth for most games in the Premier League let alone against a top European team. He was in any case more often than not stuck further out on the wide side of midfield.
And Wilshere who did not sit back to protect the defence of course but was further up field organising the attacks.
The three more forward players were Walcott, Podolski and Cazorla.
Cazorla did not play as an out and out winger of course but was coming inside more often than not. But he also is not a defensive minded midfielder is he?
So we were playing a very important game WITH ONLY ONE DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER SITTING IN FRONT OF THE DEFENCE. No wonder our defenders looked fragile and harassed.
Any defence of any team would really struggle with the kind of protection that Wenger offers to the Arsenal defenders.
This must not be repeated in the important games.
In addition and to make matters worse Wenger’s tactics always force the full backs into a wing back role where they are required to bomb forward. And quite often both full backs do this at the same time!
The conclusion is that it is not our defenders who are not good enough but the offensive minded tactics and formation that are to blame.
And that is why all Wenger’s teams will always be defensively frail.
All this has to change against Spurs, starting with the inclusion in the starting line up of two defensively minded and disciplined midfielders.
They will offer a protective wall in front of the defence and more importantly provide the cover on the flanks to counteract Spurs’ obvious strength which is on their wings with Bale and Lennon.
The two midfielders should be Arteta and Coquelin. Diaby is not 100% fit and in any case he is not that disciplined to stay back and provide cover.
The more offensive midfielder will be Wilshere and so he should be. He will also be aided by Cazorla who will be coming inside to help with the play making duties.
Wenger has to consider which is the lesser of two evils. Does he play with only one defensive midfielder and two more creative in Wilshere and Cazorla with Podolski on the left wing? He will after all offer better protection by tracking back than Cazorla.
Or does he start with what I am suggesting and rely on the two defensive midfielders to cover on the flank when needed.
The other important decision will be who plays at right back. It is obvious that Wenger will choose Jenkinson but I think Koscienly should be preferred.
He is more experienced, played well in that position for Arsenal before and will be up for the fight against Bale, if he stays on the wing.
Koscienly Mertesacker Vermaelen Monreal
Walcott Giroud Cazorla
One thing he must not do is start with Ramsey.